Nicole reveals how alleged rape changed her life

Tuesday, July 13, 2006
Witnesses: Nicole

The complainant in the controversial Subic rape case revealed today how the alleged rape has affected her and her family.

Struggling through her words, Nicole told the court about financial losses and psychological trauma that she and her family suffered after the alleged incident.

It was Nicole’s third time on the witness stand for direct examination. She testified after forensic pathologist Raquel Fortun, the prosecution’s expert witness, continued her testimony for cross-examination.

At the start of her testimony, Nicole narrated how she lost her old self because of what happened.

“Nawala po ang masayahin na ako. Noon, lagi kaming nagbibiruan ni Ann. Ngayon, hindi na (I lost my happy disposition. Ann and I used to joke around a lot. But now, we no longer do),” Nicole said, referring to her stepsister Anna Liza Franco.

Franco, together with two US Navy officers, were with her in the Neptune Club on that fateful night.

“Kinuha po nila ang dignidad ko dahil ni-rape ako ni [Lance Corporal Daniel] Smith (They took away my dignity because Smith raped me),” Nicole said in a high-pitched voice.

Nicole has accused Smith of raping her inside a moving van while Staff Sergeant Chad Carpentier, and Lance Cpls. Dominic Duplantis and Keith Silkwood cheered him on.

She continued that Smith’s companions even encouraged him as if they were watching a “live rape show” and that they unloaded her from the van “like a pig”.

Nicole also said that since the Nov. 1 incident, she often finds herself dazed and thinking about what happened.

She added that she has been having nightmares and sleepless nights, and sometimes her head aches upon waking up.

Apart from that, Nicole said she no longer takes care of herself; her depression has made her tardy, and caused her to eat and eat without exercising.

She also said she wanted to work but she’s afraid of what people might say if they know that she is a rape victim. She added that she is even afraid to mingle with others for fear that she might be raped again.

Asked how she felt about herself and her body since the alleged incident, Nicole admitted that she often wished she had died.

“Kadalasan iniisip ko po, sana namatay na lang ako. Sobra-sobra na ang ginawa nila sa akin (Oftentimes, I think I should just have died. What they did to me was too much),” Nicole said in between sobs.

After her brief answer, Nicole’s weeping turned uncontrollable, prompting private prosecutor Evalyn Ursua to ask for a 10-minute break.

During the break, a woman scolded two of the accused to the surprise of the court audience.

Anti-crime crusader Teresita Ang-See rebuked Smith and Duplantis who were seated side by side on the leftmost seats of the first row of the gallery, for laughing when Nicole was crying on the stand.

“It’s very insulting. You see that she’s crying and yet you are laughing,” Ang-See told them.

A court employee tried to calm her down and warned her not to do it again.

When the hearing resumed, Nicole narrated that she had been staying in Manila since the incident and she hasn’t gone back to Zamboanga because of her shame.

The 22-year-old complainant further said that she is afraid of how her friends might react if they know she is the one referred to in various articles in the newspapers.

“Sa pagkakaalam nila sa akin, hindi ako ganoon. Hindi ako masamang tao gaya ng ipinapalabas sa diyaryo (They know I am not like that. I am not the bad person that the newspapers depict me to be),” she continued, referring to news articles that said she is a sex worker and that she wanted more sex.

Because she has not gone home, Nicole said she has lost her monthly income of P40,000 from her business selling DVDs. She has also neglected the canteen owned by her family, which she started managing when she graduated from college two years ago.

She also wasn’t able to process her papers for a trip to the US and she lost her boyfriend because she chose to focus her attention on the case.

“Dignidad at pagkatao ko ang nakasalalay dito (My dignity and my person are at stake here),” she lamented.

Nicole also related to the court how her family has suffered.

She said her mother had to quit working as a civilian supervisor at the Philippine Navy to be with her. She has also had to sell some of their real properties in Davao.

Her two older brothers, who always attend the hearings, have had to frequently absent themselves from their jobs; Franco has declined a work offer and her younger siblings have had to miss classes or quit school to help in the canteen.

All these have added to her feelings of guilt, Nicole admitted.

“Nagi-guilty ako sa nangyari kasi alam ko nahihirapan sila (I feel guilty because I know they are suffering),” she said.

“Kung sana umuwi na kami, hindi na sana nangyari ‘to (Had we gone home, this would not have happened),” Nicole continued, her voice trembling.

She said her mother had called her on the morning of Nov. 1 and told her to come home because the liberty of Carlos Ocasio, who had invited them to Subic, had been terminated.

Nicole further said that her family could still not accept what happened to her.

She, her mother, two brothers, Franco and half sister Carmela have been undergoing therapy from psychiatrist June Pagaduan-Lopez of the Philippine General Hospital since March this year.

Asked how she feels toward the accused, Nicole fumed, “Galit na galit ako sa kanila. Gusto ko sila patayin. Kung pwede lang, papatayin ko sila. Wala silang respeto sa mga babae (I’m very angry at them. I want to kill them. If it were only possible, I would kill them. They have no respect for women).”

She then turned to the four Marines and shouted, “Akala n’yo lahat ng mga babae dito pwedeng galawin. Akala n’yo… anytime, anywhere (You think you can have all the women here. You think… anytime, anywhere).”

Seeing how distraught her client was, Ursua asked for and was granted a continuance of the hearing the next day.

Meanwhile, continuing her testimony for the cross-examination, Dr. Raquel Fortun maintained that Nicole’s genital injuries indicated forced sex.

However, she admitted that a woman could get genital injuries if she consented to sex even if she is not yet aroused and if she was not able to position herself properly for the intercourse because of limited space.

Fortun also agreed with the defense lawyers that it was possible that Nicole got the bruises on her arms and legs when Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority police held her and boarded her in a patrol car.

Prior to that, Ursua objected when Jose Justiniano, counsel of Silkwood, during cross-examination, used the term “struggled” in describing Nicole’s reaction when she was being boarded.

Ursua said she checked the court transcripts and found that no one had testified that the complainant had struggled.

Meanwhile, lawyer Francisco Rodrigo, counsel of Carpentier, made Fortun agree with some points that he excerpted from books that the doctor brought with her to the stand.

Fortun agreed that:
a. There have been reported injuries after consensual sex.
b. False allegations of sexual assault may be motivated to conceal the fact of consensual sex. Other motivations include anger towards the accused and fear of pregnancy or contracting sexually transmitted diseases.
c. Patients with false allegations of sexual assault report the incident within 24 hours.

“These are statements of the authors. I will not dispute them,” said Fortun.

On re-direct examination, Fortun explained that though there are false reports of sexual assault, these comprise only 4-14 percent of the total reports.

She further said that even some of the authors quoted by Rodrigo didn’t cite studies or refer to statistics to support their statements.

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